Yellow Isopod Die-off

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
Living in America, I assume that genetic diversity of the introduced isopods is not high enough to produce some of the incredible morphs they get in the UK. I have found, however, that in my backyard, there is a sizeable population of mottled yellow Porcellio scaber. Some of them are nearly entirely yellow, with just a few flecks of gray, and others are more gray but clearly the same morph. I've been keeping them in a plastic shoebox? with minimal ventilation and a few Philoscia muscorum for company. My other colonies of P. scaber (orange calico, brown calico)and A. vulgare are also kept like this without any problems.

Recently, I have discovered a single dead scaber underneath their bark hide per day. I moved them to a smaller, drier deli cup to kill bacteria or fungus, and two of them died within one day of each other. It seems my yellowest individuals die first. The Philoscia in the box have also begun to die. The living scabers and Philoscia eat, run, and hide perfectly fine.

I'm a little worried about losing this morph. Most of the ~25 isopods are too small to reproduce, so I have no yellow babies, and my backyard and other locations with yellows have been nearly over hunted for yellow morphs. I also don't know if anyone exclusively breeds for this color either.

The dead isopods look no different than their peers, except for lying on their back. After a few days, they turn dark yellow with some wine-red stains and smell like dead fish. I think it is a fungus, but perhaps because of cannibalism on the already dead (most dead scabers have missing, bleeding legs) this could be a virus?

Please help! My little yellow colony depends on you! (too dramatic)
 

Hisserdude

Arachnoking
Active Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2015
Messages
2,274
I think you kept them too dry, isopods require pretty high moisture levels to survive, they die very rapidly when kept too dry. I think that first death was just random, perhaps caused by old age or stress from capture, then the other deaths were caused by being kept too dry.

The way they look after a couple days of being dead is quite bizarre though, most isopods just turn white when they die, or get eaten up by their brethren...
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
Well, it seems that drying out actually saved them. I haven't had any deaths so far after I wrote this thread. I dried the container out, added a fresh dead leaf, and removed all other food (cucumbers, carrot, etc.). The survivors are eating their leaves and dead wood like normal, but I'll keep an eye on them though.
The isopod plague, however, left me with just two of my original Philoscia and a box with stained, rotting corpses...
As a side note, one of my three WC orange Armadillidium nasatum disappeared, and later I found a bleached shell without any flesh, scent, or bite marks, just hollow.
Kinda sad, but at least it wasn't the plague.
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
Spoke too soon about both things: one more yellow died, and the third orange nasatum was seen alive.
 
Top